During his time on the island in Cast Away, Chuck Noland (Tom Hanks) never opens up one last FedEx package, even though it could have made his escape or his survival easier. Why is this?

  • 1
    Some people are a stickler for integrity! Guess Tom Hank's character was one of those...
    – Sayan
    Jan 7, 2014 at 5:31
  • 9
    Actually, he opens all the packages except one
    – Tom
    Jan 7, 2014 at 12:52
  • 1
    Where did the ice skates come from? Or his "fishing net"? Or... Wilson!
    – his
    Jan 7, 2014 at 19:50
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    To restate what was already answered, but in different terms, it gave him something to hope for, a sense of urgency and a distraction. Protecting the package so that he may finally deliver it is a good way to stay sane. Apr 25, 2014 at 14:42
  • 2
    There was a hilarious TV commercial where he delivers it and the lady is like: “Oh! My satellite phone and GPS receiver with extra batteries!”
    – ruffdove
    Aug 7, 2022 at 0:02

2 Answers 2


Tom Hanks's character works for FedEx, and sees it as his job that the package reaches its intended destination safe and sound, and most importantly unopened. While the package remains closed he still has a chance to deliver it. And delivering it means that he gets off the island.

It was a way of keeping himself sane and keeping his hopes up.

  • 3
    Sane, in contrast to going nuts and talking with Wilson the face-ball
    – nilon
    May 22, 2016 at 0:23
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    @nilon: I disagree. If he had not had Wilson, his social skills would've atrophied. He's better off talking to a ball than withdraw inside his own mind. This is very similar to why toddlers are incentivized to consider their stuffed animals as individuals; it lets them practice social skills with no real consequences for failing. Failing isn't the issue for Tom Hanks' character, but practicing (maintaining) social skills is relevant.
    – Flater
    Dec 5, 2017 at 15:06
  • @Flater I don't disagree with your idea, nor from SystemDown. Sanity and craziness live together.
    – nilon
    Dec 5, 2017 at 21:05
  • Matches up with the Super Bowl commercial, so it must be the right answer! "I swore that I would deliver it for you because I work for FedEx…By the way, what's in the package?" Dec 6, 2017 at 3:11

The package had a picture of wings which represented to him staying alive. Getting off the island was a bonus. If not for the sail 4 years later, he had no plans on leaving, so it was pure luck he was found. The package was motivation so that's why he protected it and didn't open it. If he did, he would likely kill himself, die from depression, get sick, etc.

  • 2
    Hi - welcome to Movies & TV. I am glad that you are getting into answering this question, but we generally prefer that people back up their answers/explain why their answers are correct. If you could elaborate on and explain your answer, that would be wonderful!
    – ghostdog
    Jul 31, 2016 at 0:04
  • @ghostdog This answer offers no more sourcing than the accepted answer, with 42 votes as of now. Oct 25, 2021 at 12:53

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